tv Representative William Hungate Opening Statement CSPAN July 26, 2014 2:49pm-3:02pm EDT
place. him to firet orders the man who is in charge of the itt case. and what happens? to read three days later, the appeal is taken as the individual was going to be fired wanted to do. i go forward, and a decision is made by agreement with itt that is absolutely contrary to the interest of itt. it goes absolutely in the opposite direction. thank you for hearing my point of view. i hope and pray that god guides this committee to make the right decision for our nations future. >> i think the chairman, and i think my distinguished colleague. you receive the clearest explanation on the time from missouri. chairman, it has been my privilege to serve on this committee for 10 years since i came to congress. never have i been prouder of
this committee, and the privilege of serving on it, that i am during this. period of its most extreme testing. we have debated the solemn question of impeachment. the time is come for decisions. for the delay is unjustifiable. the time-consuming task of impeachment must go forward. should richard m nixon be found guilty of obstruction of justice? yes. should richard m nixon be found guilty of accusing the -- abusing the powers of his office? yes. should he be found guilty of court?pt of yes. he is a repeat offender. we hear about the grim consequences of impeachment. a government paralyzed, nation disgraced.
suppose the house should decide not to impeach. this would have consequences too. they deserve careful examination. refusal to impeach would be a decision as momentous as impeachment himself. -- itself. it would alter the historic relationship of presidential power and the constitutional system of accountability for using that power. our message to posterity would be that mr. nixon had established a new conception of presidential accountability, and his successors could expect to -- thatthat inherit unchecked power. failure to impeach would be the validation of a new theory of presidential knockout ability. many would shrink from this responsibility. shrieking from impeachment arises from remoteness of contemporary presidents.
the difficulty of visualizing offenses of the sequestration. perhaps it is more easily conceived when put in a more homely terms. i would like to paraphrase this. approved ar mayor plan by which the chief of police of your city could illegally tap your phone, open your mail, burglarize her apartment, your office, or your house. directed fbimayor agents to tap the phone of the local reporter covering city hall, and directed the fbi to investigate a newscaster for the local radio and tv station. suppose your mayor withheld knowledge of a burglary from a local judge trying the case, in which that knowledge was important. suppose your mayor steve gravitate conversations held in hall,fice in your city between yourself and citizens like yourself, as well as public officials. then when a court order required him to turn over these tapes, refused to obey, then reversed
himself, then announce the two of the tapes did not exist. suppose your mayor tripled his inlth while serving as mayor your city. suppose that your mayor paid by between no income tax for several years because he claimed dubious deductions for turning over his official papers to the local historical society. suppose your mayor surreptitiously used taxpayer funds to make major improvements onto private homes he had. electedyour mayor twice personally as mayor pro tem a man who had bribes delivered to him in city hall, and then resigned allegedly to avoid going to jail. suppose your mayor selected and , 10 mened top officials who were indicted, convicted, and pleaded guilty, including the city attorney. the citizens of your town wouldn't be complacent. should we hold city elected officials to one standard of conduct, and have a lower standard to the president?
there is currently no limit to the improprieties we would put up with in the white house. the founding fathers wisely made impeachment a constitutional remedy. they did not monitor easy to get rid of presidents, but they were determined to make it possible. if we wish to restore the historic system of accountability of presidents, the means are at hand. the time is at hand. if we do not hold mr. nixon and his successors accountable, except once every four years, we license and imperial presidency. ominousand a new and time for our republic. we transform the balancing character of constitutional order. grievousnt may have confluences. refusal to impeach will have disastrous consequences. the transcripts have diminished the presidents image of that of a moral man surrounded by underlings who betrayed him to that of an amoral man who compounded his troubles by withholding for more than a year the shocking truth about the mess and it is an attrition --
he and his administration were in. he shows a lack of morality and commitment to high ideals of the public office that make these transcript sickening disclosure. he is devious, vacillating, he is willing to be led. dismaying gaps in knowledge. he is suspicious. his loyalty is minimal. his greatest concern is to create a record that will save himself and his administration. americans have a right to expect high principles from their president. how one of sound mind can read the transcript and continue to think that mr. nixon upheld the standards and dignity of the presidency, which he claimed himself as a candidate in 1960, 1968, 1952. a questionre is not of democrat or republican, liberal or conservative, or of a conspiracy by his enemies to get the president.
roleixon took a principal in a shabby, immoral, disgusting performance. as a matter of right and wrong. telling the truth or not telling the truth. perhaps an old missouri saying is appropriate. would lord love a liar he hug him to death. the issues here are broader than criminality. ls conduct may be reprehensible without being criminal. history shows an official may be removed for failing to do his job, or bringing scandal and disgrace to his office, losing his ability to govern effectively. salmon mentioned james madison. debates9, 1789, in the in the congress concerning our constitution, mr. madison said i think it absolutely necessary that the president should have the power of removing his subordinates from office.
it will make him in a peculiar manner responsible for their conduct, and subject him to impeachment himself if he withrs them to perpetrate impunity hike rhymes or misdemeanors against the united states, or neglects to superintend their conduct. so as to check their excesses. it is true the standard, this action may tempt opponents to seek removal of her president for political or otherwise inadequate reasons as some believe they did with andrew johnson. but that risk must be accepted. the ultimate arbiter to the isple, public reaction today clearly revolting. republican politicians defect from mr. nixon in droves. the evidence against mr. nixon is in his own words, made public in his own direction. there can no longer be a charge that he was railroaded out of office by revengeful democrats or the price. questions have been answered. filling in gaps in the transcripts only make the case
stronger. , ande you were president possessed of normal standards of honesty. one of your assistance comes in the office and says mr. president, you are member the burglary at the watergate -- we are spending your campaign money to take your the families of the men caught in a burglary, and to pay the legal fees. what would you say? what would you do? would you examine all your options? say that would be perfectly legal? or would you say something like this -- that money was raised to reelect the president of the united states. nobody in this office is going to use it to support berg were -- burglary.ewers to finde do not have him guilty of a crime to find him unfit for this high office. what what i have done if i had learned that funds given to me by people who believed in me and wish to secure my reelection were being used to support
burglary? ask yourself whether richard nixon is where the dauphin -- occupied this office. it's hard not to feel silly or dishonest when circumstances force you to make -- to play two roles. it is reasonable for a man trying to run a government to insist that one year, watergate isn't out. for him to dole what he can to stop the prosecution from group with a suspect. it's hard to say anything without the appearance of self-serving and honesty. mr. nixon is forever saying contradictory things. he is cooperating fully with the committee and with a special prosecutor, even while he is denying documents and denying tapes that this committee seeks.
he completed the fifth amendment. as president granted during a presidential inquiry. untilpresumed innocent proven guilty, and you have the best defense you might make. you know, the president spoke a lot about law and order in his they. is time forid it honest talk about law and order in the united states if we are to restore law and order to this country, we will have a new attorney general. says, i pledge to you that our attorney general be directly launching a war against organized crime. governments can pass laws and respect the law can only come from people who take the law into their hearts and minds and not into their hands. i believe in a system where the appropriate cabinet officer gets credit for what goes right and the president takes blame for
what is wrong greater i believe forny system of government peaceful change. there is no cause for breaking the law or engaging in violence. 1973, the only way to attack crime in america is the way crime attacks are people, without pity. nixon said inr. 1971, 1 final point, let me take you what happens when you go to real police state. you can't talk in your bedroom. you don't talk on the telephone. you don't talk in the bathroom. you hear about going out and talking in the garden. i have watched many times -- walked through many gardens. you can even talk about it in front of a shrub. that's the way it works. there are police states but we don't want that to happen in america. we will be sure that not the fbi or any organization engages in such activity. it goes on. on this committee we are all lawyers. we took the same oath to uphold the constitution richard in